After the October Revolution in 1917, the Soviet Union had to beg the British to buy the 6-ton Vickers light tanks.

Under the leadership of the Central People’s Committee, headed by Stalin, ordered the Army, industry, and research institutes, to develop combat tanks on their own. As a result, the T-18 light tank (also known as the MS-1) was the first mass produced Soviet tank (with a total of 960 units) in the period 1928-1931. The T-18 weighed only 5.9 tons, 6-16mm thick armor, 2-man crew, equipped with a 37mm Model 28 main gun. The T-18 first entered combat in a mission to protect the Far East railway against the invasion of the Manchu empire in 1929.

BT-7 was the famous Soviet light tank model, built in the period 1935-1945, with about 2,700-5,300 units. The vehicle weighs 13.9 tons, a crew of 3, armor 6-20mm thick in the hull, and 10-15mm in the turret. It was armed with a 45mm L/46 main gun, and two 7.62mm machine guns. BT-7 entered battle for the first time in the Battle of Lake Khasan between the Soviet Red Army and Japan in 1938. The most famous battle of the BT-7 was in the Mongolian battlefield, with its excellent maneuverability on steppe plains.

BT-7 tank
BT-7 tank

The T-34 was the most successful Soviet-made medium tank design, with thick steel armor and powerful firepower. Right after joining the battle, the T-34 showed its superior ability. The T-34 is also one of the most produced tanks in the world, and was in use until the 1990s.

The Soviet T-64 was a revolutionary tank, the direction for the development of the world’s later main battle tanks. The T-64 was developed and manufactured in the early 1960s and began to be mass produced in 1964, officially serving in the Soviet army since 1969. The T-64 was equipped with a series of revolutionary technologies, it was the first tank in the world to use an automatic reload system, a laser measuring system. The T-64 was also the first to use composite materials, rather than just ordinary steel, to increase the vehicle’s viability. It is not too heavy, about 40 tons, but the T-64’s armor is thicker and is armed with a powerful 125 mm main gun. In other words, the T-64 was the first Soviet main battle tank (MBT) and also the first in the world.

When the T-72 main battle tank was officially put into service, it quickly became the pride of the Soviet Army, turning the US M60A3 or the German Leopard 1 into a piece of junk. About 25,000 T-72s were built in the Soviet Union and a few other countries, serving about 40 countries around the world. The T-72 weighs more than 40 tons, a crew of 3, is equipped with 500mm composite armor in front of the turret, a 125mm 2A46M smooth-barrel main gun. Based on the T-72, Russia later successfully developed the world’s leading modern T-90 tank.

The most modern Soviet MBT, built at the end of the Cold War, before the superpower disintegrated in 1991, it was the T-80. The T-80 was a deep upgrade of the T-64, produced in larger numbers. The important improvements were the use of a gas turbine engine, so the vehicle had a very high speed. However, during the First Chechen War, 200 tanks and armored vehicles of the Russian army were destroyed in Grozny, including many T-80 tanks. Therefore, this tank is no longer used in future wars and gradually goes into oblivion.


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